A good chart is a thing of beauty unto itself, but knitting from one can be a little daunting — especially if it’s numerous stitches wide and/or many rows tall. Each of our brains works differently, so it’s important to be able to annotate a chart in whatever way makes it make the most sense to YOU. Pictured here are Meg Strong’s chart and my chart for the project we’re both knitting. And you can see our two minds reflected in them:
— Meg has enlarged hers to 8.5×14 and attached it to an 11×17 sheet of paper, along with the stitch guide and legend, and she’s color-coded all of it with highlighter pens. Each color indicates a different cable stitch, and the corresponding description in the guide is highlighted the same color. As you can see, it makes each of the cable stitches stand out more clearly from the surrounding stitches, and it’s easier to follow the direction of the cables as they lean this way and that — especially within the honeycomb. (Note that she’s also opting to mirror the diamond cables so they twist toward each other, rather than having them all twist left as written, so she’s simply made a note beneath the center crosses about which direction she’ll twist.)
— Me, I’m perfectly happy in black-and-white and small-scale. But for my brain to make this digestible, I have to divide it up into its component parts. I’ve drawn a rule (that’s design-speak for “a line”) down the chart to separate each of the sections. (“Like with like” is my mantra in all of life.) This way I can clearly see the honeycomb portions, the slipped-stitch portions (with flanking purls), the diamond panels, and the braid. The purls no longer blur together and the rows are broken up into easily memorizable chunks. And everywhere I’ve drawn a rule on the chart I’ll also place a stitch marker in my knitting. So I always know exactly where I am, and never have to think very hard about it. If I get off course, I’m going to know it within a few stitches without even looking at the knitting — the stitch markers will let me know.
The point being: It’s your chart; make whatever kind of marks are helpful to you!
There’s also the matter of keeping track of what row you’re on. I’m a big fan of a wide post-it note or piece of post-it tape, and I place it below the row I’m currently working. I like to be able to see where I’m going, since my knitting shows me where I’ve been. But lots of people do the opposite. This here post from almost exactly one year ago is also full of great advice from you guys about other ways to track progress, so check the comments on that. And if you have anything to add, let’s hear it!
AND HERE’S ANOTHER HOT TIP: You can cable without a cable needle. If you find cable needles too fussy and want to learn how to do without, Kate posted a tutorial on the Kelbourne blog.
PREVIOUSLY in Hot Tip: Remember right- vs left-leaning stitches